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We asked for views on the draft Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy. Specifically, we asked for your views on each of the priorities of the draft strategy and then for your views on specific policies relating to each theme. The priorities of the strategy are:
There were 166 responses to the consultation, which overall showed strong support for the overarching themes and the individual priorities within that. The mean average support for the overarching priorities was 92%. The most popular priority was preventing homelessness, with 93.8% support. Establishing effective partnerships, working arrangements and support was also popular with 92.5% support, while supporting rough sleepers to address their housing and other needs (91.8%) and reducing the number of households in temporary accommodation (90.4%) also received strong backing.
This was also reflected within the individual priorities of each chapter, with all of the priorities in preventing homelessness receiving at least 90% support.
Other comments wanted the strategy to emphasise the role of partner organisations, such as Homeless Action in Barnet, who are a key partner in supporting rough sleepers in Barnet.
Another comment that was raised by multiple respondents related to improving outreach and being more proactive in terms of rough sleeping in the borough, while others wanted more work on the health needs of rough sleepers.
All of the comments from the consultation were fed into the final strategy and accompanying consultation report, which were approved at Housing Committee on 1st April 2019.
In terms of partner organisations, a new part of the action plan has been added to improve multi-agency working when relating to care leavers. This will identify early and appropriate action to improve actions and provide a range of housing options suitable for care leavers alongside support for example through ongoing money management and tenancy support.
The strategy now references Homeless Action in Barnet (HAB) in multiple sections, emphasising the role that they play in supporting rough sleepers in the borough.
Concerns about outreach have been addressed by the strategy now pledging to develop and monitor an Annual Rough Sleeping Plan to reduce rough sleeping across the borough. In terms of health needs, all rough sleepers will have a full assessment of health needs and will be supported to be registered with a GP and have access to primary care services in Barnet.